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is today leaves four u.s. service members dead. as the anti-american protests over a u.s.-made anti-muslim film spread across the arab world from africa to afghanistan to australia, here at home, big questions remain about the safety of u.s. personnel overseas. and how all this will affect campaign 2012. we'll cover it all from all sides with the president of libya's general national congress mohamed magariaf.
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u.n. ambassador susan rice, and republican senator john mccain. for analysis we'll look to former u.s. ambassador to israel martin indyk. the president of the council on foreign relations, richard haass. and "new york times" columnist tom friedman. plus we'll talk to the chief washington correspondent of the "times" david sanger. "time" magazine deputy international editor bobby ghosh. and cbs news political director, john dickerson. this is "face the nation" upon captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news in washington, "face the nation" with bob schieffer. with >> good morning again. and here is the latest news from overnight. four american military people have been killed in an attack in southern afghanistan. this happened when at least one afghan police officer opened
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fire on them at a checkpoint. the state department has ordered all nonessential u.s. embassy personnel to leave tunisia and sudan, and protests against americans continue in at least 20 countries. we're going to start this morning with libya and the latest on tuesday's attack. we spoke a little earlier this morning with the president of libya's national congress, mohamed magariaf. how many people have now been arrested, mr. president? >> oh, i think the number has reached about 50. >> schieffer: about 50 people have been arrested. who are these people? you have said they were connected to al qaeda. are they all foreigners? >> a few of them are. >> schieffer: and who are the others? >> the others are affiliates and maybe sympathizers. >> schieffer: where do you think the foreigners are from, mr. president? >> may entered libya from
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different directions, and some of them definitely from algeria. >> schieffer: you have said this this is does not-- this attack did not reflect anti-american feelings by the vast majority of people in your country. tell us about that. >> yes, these ugly deeds, criminal deeds against were directed against them, the late ambassador, chris city ofep citd chiz colleagues does not represent in any way, in any sense, the perhapserations of fieldings of the libbia towards the united states and its citizens. >> schieffer: was this a long-planned attack, as far as you know. what do you know about that? >> the way this perpetrators
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acted, moved, and their choosing specific date for this so-called demonstration, i think we have no-- this leaves us with no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined. >> schieffer: and you believe this was the work of al qaeda and you believe that it was led by foreigners. is that what you're telling us? >> it was plans definitely, was planned by forers, by people who entered the country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their arrival. >> schieffer: mr. president, is it safe for americans there now? >> the security situation is-- is difficult, not only for americans. even for libbians themselves.
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we don't know what are the real intentions. of these perpetrators. how they will react. but there is no specific particular concern, danger for americans or any other foreigners. but the situation is not easy to keep stability. yes >> mr. president, will it be safe for the f.b.i. investigators from the united states to come in, or are you advising them to stay away for a while? >> maybe it is better for them to stay for a little while, for a little while. but until we-- we-- we do what we have to do ourselves. but, again, we'll be there for their presence to help further
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the investigation. i mean, any hasty action i think is not welcomed. >> schieffer: i want to thank you very much for joining us this morning. thank you, sir. >> thank you so much. >> schieffer: and joining us now, suesap rice, the u.n. ambassador, our u.n. ambassador. madam ambassador, he said this is something that has been in the planning stages for month. i heard you were saying you think it is spontaneous? >> bob, let me tell you what we believe to be the assessment at presence. first of all, very purpose rimportantly, as you discussed, there is is an investigation that will be done by f.b.i. they are not on the ground yet but they have begun looking at all source of evidence of various sorts available to them and us. they will get on the ground and continue the investigation. we'll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any
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definitive conclusions. our assessment at the present is in fact it began spontaneously in benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired hours earlier in cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video. but soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in libya post-revolution. and that it spun from there into something much, much more violent. >> schieffer: but you do not agree with him that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago? >> we do not-- we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude this was premeditated or preplanned. >> schieffer: do you agree or
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disagree with him that al qaeda had some part in this? >> well, we'll have to find out that out. i think it's clear there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. whether they were al qaeda affiliatees, whether they were libyan-based extremists or al qaeda itself i think is one of the things zeal to determine >> there seem to be demonstrations in more than 20 cities as far as we know yesterday. is there any sense that this is leveling off? >> well, on friday, of course-- i think that's what you're referring to-- there were a number of places around the world in which there were protests, many of them peaceful. some of them turned violent. and our emphasis has been and the president's, has been very, very clear about this, priority number one is protection of american external facilities. and we have been working now very constructively with host governments around the world to provide the kind of protection we need and to condemn the violence. what happens going forward, i think it would be unwise for any of us to predict with certainty. clearly the last couple of days
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have seen a reduction in protests and a reduction in violence. i don't want to predict what the next days will yield. >> schieffer: the romney campaign continues to criticize the administration. paul ryan was on the campaign trail yesterday saying that the obama administration has diminished america's presence overseas and our image, a direct quote, "if we project weakness, they come. if we are strong, our adversaries will not test us and our allies will respond to us." what's your response to that. >> it's two-fold. first of all, bob, i think american people expect in times of challenge overseas for our leaders to be unified. and to come together. and to be steadfast and steady and calm and responsible. and that certainly is what president obama has been. with respect to what i think is a very empty and baseless charge of weakness, let's be plain-- the american people know the record very well. president obama said when he was
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running for president that he would refocus our efforts and attentions on al qaeda. we've decimated al qaeda. assume iosamabin laden is gone. he also said we'd end the war in iraq responsibly. we've done that. he has protected civilians in libya, and qaddafi is gone. i serve up at the united nations, and i see every day the difference in how countries around the world view the united states. they view us as a partner. they view us as somebody they want to work with. they view president obama as somebody they trust. our standing in the world is much stronger so it charge of weakness is really quite baseless. >> schieffer: do you think mitt romney spoke inappropriately when he criticized and issued a statement so early in this turmoil? >> bob, i think you know, in my role, i'm not going to jump into politics and make those judgments. that's for the american people to decide. >> schieffer: madam ambassador thank you for being with us. >> thank you very much. >> schieffer: and joining us now for his take on all this,
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the ranking republican on the senate armed services committee, john mccain. senator, you've got to help me out here. the president of libya says that this was something that had been in the works for two months, this attack. he blames it on al qaeda. susan rice says that the state department thinks it is some sort of a spontaneous event. what do you make of it? >> most people don't bring rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons to a demonstration. that was an act of terror, and for anyone to disagree with that fundamental fact i think is really ignoring the facts. now, how long it was planned and who was wil involved, but theres no doubt there were extremists and there's no doubt they were using heavy weapons and they used pretty good tactics-- indirect fire, direct fire, and obviously they were successful. could i just say our prayers are with chris stephen and glen doherty and tyrone woods and
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sean smith who gave their lives and chris stevens in benghazi during the fighting, he was putting his life on the line every day. he was living in a hotel. i was with him on july 7 when the libyan people voted and he and i were down where thousands of people were saying to him, "thank you, thank you, america, thank you." so the last thing that chris stevens would want the united states to do is to stop assisting libya as they go through this very difficult process. trying to establish government and democracy >> is there something more going on here than a difference of opinion when the administration spokesman today says that she believes and the administration believes this was just a spontaneous act? >> how spontaneous is a demonstration when people bring rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons and have a very tactically successful military flation but there are so many things that we need to cover but the fact is that the united
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states is weakened. and, you know, it was osama bin laden that said when people see the strong horse and the weak horse, people like the strong horse. right now, the united states is the weak horse. in iraq, it's unraveling. in iraq, al qaeda is coming back. it is in danger of breaking up into sunni-shia and kurd-- by the way, iranian flights are overflying iraqs with weapons for cd barb. in afghanistan again, you just saw, the worst thing for any military moral is the killing by your allies that continue to escalate. it's unraveling because all we tell the afghan people is we're leaving. we're not telling them we're succeeding. we're telling them we're leaving. in syria, 20,000 people have been massacred. these people cry out for our help. they've been massacred, raped, tortured, beaten. and the president of the united states will not even speak up for them, much less provide them with the arms and equipment for
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a fair fight. when russian arms are flowing in, iranian help and hezbollah on the ground. >> schieffer: what is it that we're doing wrong here? >> well, it's disengagement. prior to 9/11, we had a policy of containment. then after 9/11, it was confrontation with the terroristterrorists and al qaed. now it's disengangment. every time-- you just saw the spokesperson-- we're leaving iraq. we're leaving afghanistan. we're leaving the area. the people in the area are having to adjust and they believe the united states is weak, and they are taking appropriate action. and in israel, now we have a looming situation. is there anybody that doesn't believe that iran continues on the path to nuclear weapons, despite the sanctions that have been harmful to them? and here we are, in an open fight with the prime minister of israel.
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>> schieffer: well-- could i-- >> could i just say, we keep telling the israelis not to attack. shipment we be telling the irrainians we are together and there are bound reas they can't cross. instead we're in a continued public dispute with our closest allies. >> schieffer: let's talk about that a little bit. the prime minister says he wants the united states to announce a red line to say, "if you go beyond this point in your development of weapons, then that's too far, and we won't tolerate that." >> yes. >> schieffer: what is that line and what should it be? >> when they reached, in the israelis' view, when they reached a level where they can quickly assemble a nuclear weapon. apparently, in the administration's view, it's when they have a nuclear weapon, and that's a big difference. and the israelis' great fear is at some point the iranians are able to conceal and develop weapons to the degree that they militarily can't stop that.
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so then they'd have to rely on us. do you think that the israeli government right now would readily rely on us? i don't think so. >> schieffer: so what should we do? should we just tell the israelis, look we're with you guys. if you think we need to go, then we need to bomb and we're with you? >> there should be agreement where that point is. most of all, let's reassert american leadership in the region. let's point out this wasn't a video that caused this. it's a fight, a struggle in the arab world between the islamists and the forces of moderation. and they want america disengaged. we need to assist these people. obviously, we have the right and should demand the host nation provide security. but we should be assisting these countries and want fact is that for us to say it's all about a video, look, one of our fundamentals freedom of speech, and that's what the arab spring was about, to bring about an end to the censorship by their government among other things.
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so it's not a video. and by the way, i predict you, there will be many, many videos that will be out there. it was the islamists, radical islamists, advertising and pushing this objectionable, hateful video to incite the forces that would then bring about their assumption of power. that's what this is all about. >> schieffer: did mitt romney speak inappropriately when he spoke out so soon in all of this? >> if you look at the statement that was given by the american embassy, and later disavowedly by the administration itself, of course that was a very weak statement. this is-- it was a semi-apology. we shouldn't be apologizing for freedom of speech. we should be saying we demand freedom of speech for these people. that's one of the fundamentals of democracy. so the lack of symmetry on the part of the media in this campaign on this issue and on medicare and others, it's just saddening to me.
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>> schieffer: let me just go back to the business with israel. what should the united states do? should it tell israel, look, we're with you? and you take the lead here. or what-- what should we say? >> what we should do-- and it doesn't have to be public-- is sit down with the israelis-- by the way, rather than send our national security adviser and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to go to exprl come back and say, "we tell the israelis not to attack." is that-- is that the message we want to send to the iranians? and by the way, because of this weakness, the iranians don't believe we are going to do anything about their effort because of our other activities. we should in quiet negotiations say this is a line that you, israel, can be confident that we will not let them cross and we will act with you militarily. the israelis are aware of the consequences of acting alone in the arab world. but, by the way, the arab world will be celebrating in private if we deal this blow to the iranians.
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again, the syrian people need our help. >> schieffer: senator mccain, thank you so much. and we'll be back in one minute with analysis on all of this. with our revolutionary e-trade 360 dashboard you see exactly where your money is and what it's doing live. our e-trade pro platform offers powerful functionality that's still so usable you'll actually use it. and our mobile apps are the ultimate in wherever whenever investing. no matter what kind of investor you are, you'll find the technology to help you become a better one at e-trade. you'll find the technology to help you become a better one if we want to improve our schools... ...what should we invest in? maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ...nothing transforms schools
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like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. >> schieffer: and we're back now to talk more about the situation in the middle east with former israeli ambassador martin indyk, who is now vice president of foreign policy at the brookings institution, "new york times" columnist tom friedman other and joining us from new york, richard haass, president of the council on foreign relations. richard, let me just start with you. what do you mac make of what has happened this past week? is this more than just about a film? why does this go from here? >> slucialghts it's more than about a film. this is the equivalent of a forest fire. anything could set it off. the film is the wrong place to focus. essentially, bob, the old order in the middle east is gone.
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that's the order of authoritarian rescreams many who were pro-american, pro-westernuc the people didn't have much of the way in freedom to say the least. that srd now gone, or in many cases shaky. nothing has taken its place. we don't have governments in full control of their own countries. in some cases we don't have countries willing to fulfill their international obligations. they're not that ma toured democracies. we have in some cases simply majority rule. the old world of the middle east is gone, no new world has taken its place and i think the president was right in one thing he said the other day-- these countries are not allies. they're not adversaries. they're somewhere in between. in some ways at best, they're getting their footing. the muslim brotherhood has to decide whether it's a government, political party, or popular movement. each has different dynamics, so for right now and the foreseeable future and then some, i think we're going to be dealing with a middle east that will look more like a wild west than anything else. >> schieffer: let me go to
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martin indyk quickly. what do you see the impact of this weekend on the differences now surfacing between israel and the united states over iran, mr. ambassador? >> well, i think that israel is very nervous about the rapid deterioration in its neighborhood. the turmoil that we see from here, they see from a much closer perspective. and that combines with the-- as the prime minister puts it-- the race of iran towards nuclear weapons capability. the fear that the egypt-israel peace treaty will start to come apart. the concern that in syria, what's happening there could lead to an islamist government taking over eventually there as well. but before that, decept into chaos on the northern border. all of that, i think, makes them very nervous, and that's why the prime minister is coming out much more vocally than one might have expected in the midst of an election campaign here saying,
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you know, we need-- we need reauof assurances. we need red lines against the iranians because from his point of view, that's the greatest difference. >> schieffer: i want to come back to that. tom, i want to talk to you what kind of an impact on syria and what's happening there? >> well,un, bob, let's talk about syria in light of what happened this week. as senator mccain said, 20,000 people have been killed in syria over the last year. has a single syrian embassy been ransacked or attacked around middle east? think about that. 20,000 arab muslims in syria have been killed, and there hasn't been a single protest around the arab world. yet, our embassy in cairo and libya are-- our consulates there were ransacked because of a nut-ball film on youtube. and what that tells you is, a., one, how confused and fraudulent a lot of these protests are, in my view. i don't think a youtube video compares to people creating an
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image of god being killed. let's start there. but it also tells you there's just a huge fight going on for reasons mart and i know richard have said over what is going to be the future of this region. who is going to set the rules? right now you have the far-far right in the muslim world trying to challenge the right in the muslim world, and no leaders really standing up and charting, i think, a progressive forward future. >> schieffer: well, that sets up our discussion for the second half of our broadcast. we're going to take a commercial break and we'll be back in just a minute. it's something you're born with. and inspires the things you choose to do. you do what you do... because it matters. at hp we don't just believe in the power of technology. we believe in the power of people when technology works for you.
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>> schieffer: welcome back now to "face the nation" page two. richard haass of the council on foreign relations is in new york. martin indyk of brookings, and tom friedman of the "new york times" are with us here in the studio. richard haass, i'm going to go to you about what martin indyk was talking about, this problem between israel and the united states over iran and what do we do about it? the prime minister is saying the united states ought to publicly draw a red line and tell iran you cannot go beyond this point in your nuclear weapons development. where do you see-- what do you see happening on this front? >> well, that's an approach i think that probably can't work, simply because the iranians may be doing things already that we don't know about.
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and i think it's legitimate to say, even if they don't cross the nuclear weapons threshold, if they get 90% of the way there, that's not a very comforting outcome. so let me suggest a different approach, bob. instead of red linees, let me suggest deadlines. what we ought to do is going to the iranians with a diplomatic offer and make clear what it is they have to stop doing-- all the enrichment material they have to get rid of, the international inspections they have to respect, and sanctions would be reduced and they would be out from under the risk of attack. if they don't meet the deadline, i think the united states, israel, and others who are like-minded should think of whether the time has come to undertake military action. >> schieffer: martin indyk, has the time come? >> not yet. iran doesn't have a nuclear weapon. it is certainly going ahead, despite the crippling sanctions and the effort at negotiating an outcome in which they would give up their aspirations for nuclear weapons. they're still moving ahead towards a nuclear threshold. so, therefore, while there's
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still time, there's not a lot of time, and i don't think the difference between netanyahu and obama on this is that great in terms of the president's commitment not to allow iran to acquire nuclear weapons. the idea of putting out a public red line, in effect, issuing an ultimatum, is something that no president would do. you notice governor romney is not putting out a red line. senator mccain didn't, either, and neither is netanyahu, because it locks you in. i think what's clear is that the united states has a vital interest in preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon. there is still time, perhaps six months, even, by prime minister netanyahu's own time table to try to see if a negotiated solution can be worked out. i'm pessimistic about that. if that doesn't work out, and we need to make every effort, exhaust every chance that it
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does work-- then i'm afraid that 2013 is going to be a year in which we're going to have a military confrontation with iran. >> schieffer: you really believe that? tom friedman, is a military showdown inevitable in this? i mean, i-- just to be the devil's advocate, let me just say, we coexisted with, first, the soviet union and now russia for a long, long time, and they have nuclear weapons. what is the difference in iran having a nuclear weapon and russia having a nuclear weapon or china or pakistan? >> well, i think the argument is that this is a much more unstable regime and the russians, even during the cold war, didn't-- weren't out there vowing to wiept united states off the map. i certainly understand why the israeliisraelis are concerned. i would say a couple of things, though, bob. if i did think that this was a year in which we were going to have to undertake military action from iran-- if i were israel and thinking that-- i wouldn't just be worried about drawing a red line.
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i would be interested in drawing a green line, too, and that is a green line between israel and west bank. the idea that israel would go on with mad settlement policy in the west bank and at the same time expect the united states and the world to undertake a military strike against iran, what we saw in the middle east last week in terms of the burning down of american embassies, that would be a garden party, if you ask me, compared to what you would see on the street in the arab world if israel attacked iran with the support of the united states in the complete absence of any kind of negotiation with the palestinians i'm not saying even negotiations with the palestinians would insulate us from that reaction, but the fact that there's absolutely nothing, okay, i can't imagine what-- you can say all these arab regimes, they'll love it. quarterback the leaders quietly, they'll wisp tore us, "way to go. really good job. thank you very much. but our people-- our people are
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really upset, and you know, bob, when our people are upset we have to be with the people." >> schieffer: let me ask you, and i'll go back to you, richard, what is netanyahu trying to do here. martin says even he has not drawn a red line. you all talk about how it would be very difficult for us to draw one publicly. why is he saying what he's saying right now? >> he's adding urgency to this. we've had several rounds of negotiations that have accomplished very little. he doesn't want these things to be drawn out indefinitely. he wants countries to increase the sanctions, to put more pressure on iran. he wants the pressure of the united states. he wants the united states, whether we announce a formal red line or not, to essentially decide within the government that our patience and our tolerance are not unlimited. so i think what he is hoping is that somewhere after the election-- whether it's a second obama administrationo a first romney administration-- essentially the united states would one way or another make the decision that unless iran
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met our requirements by a date certain, we would probably begin to move much more directly towards the idea of an american military strike-- which, by the way, the israelis would much prefer. thane we have the capacity to do things militarily that are far greater than they could. they also know if they're the ones to undertake the strike, it introduce a somewhat different dynamic into the region. so their preference, if you will, is not to act unilaterally. it's to get us to strike, and i think what you're seeing, therefore, is the israelis pressing their case. >> schieffer: let's go back to what tom friedman was talking about in the beginning, and that is syria. john mccain feels very strongly that we should have done a lot more, tom, than what we have done. >> well, you know, my sympathies here are with the administration. my view on syria is very simple-- if you want to effect change there, you have to take over the whole country. you have to do what we did in iraq. and no one wants to do that again. what you're seeing in all these arab states really, bob, is you
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take out the dictator. and there's nothing underneath. there's no civil society. they're all one version of a failed state after another. and what they all need is some kind of midwife or some kind of mandela to pull them together and bring them into the modern world. they have none. now, what really scares me when i look at egypt eye just came from china, as you know-- you look where china is today. china is not sit back and looking-- egypt was ahead of china 50 years ago. egypt can't even see china today. so now we're going to go through a period where the muslim brotherhood has to say we have to figure out islam and we have our followers. guys, you know how close we are to the united states, one more situation like this, the united states will pull out. these countries are in real danger, bob, of falling behind exponentially in this globalized world today. un, there's a saying in environmentalism that really
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applies to them-- we have exactly enough time starting now. people talk about climate change. they have exactly enough time starting now to get into the modern world, and to spend another decade with islam-- islam is a great and glorious faith but it is not the answer it their development issues today. >> schieffer: mr. ind. >mr. indyk, doyou think assad in he survive? >> it's very difficult to see how he can survive. he's lost all legitimacy. he's basically in a situation of kill or be killed, and upwards of 30,000 syrians already dead, i think we see what choice he's made here. there's no way back from that situation. i do think that the administration could have been more actively engaged with the opposition earlier on, the kinds of things that we're trying to do now in terms of finding out who the opposition is, who it would be safe to arm, all of those things could have been
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done earlier on. in terms of trying to plan for a post-assad future, that is critically important now, and we shouldn't see it just as a black-and-white situation. it's really what-- what we're facing now is a descent into chaos and a potential for a sectarian war between shubies and shias to spread from syria to iraq to lebanon and then to bahrain and even saudi arabia. so there's real potential here for much more instability that we're already witnessing. we do have a stake in trying to get in there and doing whatever we can, without putting boots on the ground, to effect an orderly transition from a post-assad syria. that is not going to be easy at all, and we're late to the game, but it doesn't mean we should give it up. >> schieffer: all right, well, gentlemen, i want to thank all of you for a very good discussion this morning. we'll be back in a minute with our reporters' roundtable in a
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minute. commitment to the gulf. and every day since, we've worked hard to keep it. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help people and businesses who were affected, and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy -- and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. we've shared what we've learned with governments and across the industry so we can all produce energy more safely. i want you to know, there's another commitment bp takes just as seriously: our commitment to america. bp supports nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs in communities across the country. we hired three thousand people just last year. bp invests more in america than in any other country. in fact, over the last five years, no other energy company has invested more in the us than bp. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. today, our commitment to the gulf, and to america,
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has never been stronger. >> schieffer: and we're back now. tom friedman is sticking around because he qualifies as a reporter. he used to be a reporter before he started writing a column for the "new york times." the "new york times" chief washington correspondent, david sanger is with us this morning. as is "time" magazine's bobby ghosh, who wrote the cover story on "time" this week and our own political director, john dickerson. let's talk a little bit. we've been talking about this red line that netanyahu wants the president to draw. david, you had a pretty interesting story in the paper this week about the red line that mitt romney's people have drawn, and there seems to be some disagreement with where he is and where his advisers are. what's that all about? >> well, his advisers have laid out a case, bob, that mitt
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romney would put the red line pretty close to where the israelis would have it, which is to say, that the u.s. and israel would need to act some time before iran actually got a weapon. i think the phrase they used was, "you can't let iran get a screwdriver turn away from the weapon." but then the candidate himself gave an interview to abc, and i don't know if he forgot his own position out here or if he just misspoke, but he seemed to draw the line closer to where president obama is, which is to say, he said, "well, we're in the same place. we can't let them get a weapon." well, it's a crucial distinction, and maybe the distinction we heard in the early part of your show, between war and peace, and it's certainly one that during the campaign the candidates are going to have to be a little more explicit about. >> schieffer: john dickerson, mitt romney, of course, spoke out very quickly, even before the-- we knew that an american ambassador had been killed and the trouble in bek.
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he spoke out just as kind of the demonstration were beginning in cairo, and he basically accused of administration of apologizing. where is all that now? well, i think in the short term, there's a rift for romney. in the long term with libya and egypt and all of these protestes, there's a long-term problem for the property. what mitt romney could have done when he had that press conference was come out and say we have a tradition in this country where in the middle of campaigns we don't attack the chief executive. we are all one and i'm going to let the president handle this. he didn't do that. he, as you said, jumped in the moment, inserted himself, made a large argument, which the president has been weak and there are specifics in this case but it attaches to a longer and bigger critique of the president. that's a big risk because he's not only challenging tradition by speak out, but he's also challenging public opinion. the country, based on polling, is not in an adventuresome mood. they are not in a strong horse mood based on 11 years of war, and just where they are right now. so mitt romney has to make a strong case here.
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he didn't really continue making that case. so that's the challenge for him. the challenge for the super tuesday that this drones on, and that there are more opportunities for him to make unforced errors. you know, he said, after criticizing romney, kind of looking down his nose at him and says he shoot first and aims later. then the president made a comment about egypt that a lot of people thought was shooting first and aiming later. the unrest is another instance in which people can say barack obama isn't the guy he said he was going to be. he came in saying there would be a new day internationally. there has not been a new day and the longer that continues that could hurt him politically. >> schieffer: what about this statement that the president made, that ejim is not our-- egypt is not our enemy but they're not our ally. >> bob it has to do with the kind of world we're in right now and i think something very important has happened in the last six, seven, eight years, we've anyone from a connected world, toap interconnected world to an interdependent world really fast. in an interdependent world,
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things get weird. your friends can kill you faster than your economy. if greece retires tomorrow, yours and my retirement savings are in jeopardy. your rivals collapsing is more important than getting stronger. if china goes to zero growth tomorrow, we're much more trouble than if china get stronger. in the interdependent world we have a whole host of country-- and again i sympathize can someone who has to manage it-- basically failing. think about europe and the national world. the super national state is failing, the european union, and in the arab world, the nation state is failing. you're dealing with failed states. you have dealing with states you have to build into an entity before you deal with them. what is china today? not a friend. notap enemy. kind of a frenemy? what is egypt today? i don't think we have definitions in this incredibly interdependent world where your friends collapsing and your
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enemies collapsing are sometimes more dangerous than the other way around. >> schieffer: bobby, you and i were talking before the broadcast, and we were talking about the trouble that's spread across the arab world, and you've said basically we need to get used to it. >> absolutely. i think this is a new kind of middle east crisis and it will come back to us over and over again. we have seen the elements of it, there are people in country, professional offense givers, and in countries are professional offense takers. there are people who crank it up in the street and organize. this is not a spontaneous outburst of anger. as tom was saying, you have states that are too weak to figure out how to do this. how do you deal-- if you're a democratically elected country. you're not mubarak anymore. how do you deal with public expression anger is it how do you modulate it so it doesn't become an american flag being torn down or worse still, americans being killed? this kind of crisis, i think we
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will come back to over expofer again and it has to be a part of this administration-- any administration that comes after it for years to come-- to know how to deal with it, just as the egyptians, the tunisianes, the libbians are learning how to work their own society. >> schieffer: is it about us? is it about them? are we just observers here? what kind of a role can we play here? >> i don't think there is any question that the u.s. has a larger role to play in the middle east. there is no question of disengagement at the risk of an embassy being shut down, i think is very small. the reasons that the u.s. has always been engaged in the middle east haven't gone away, if anything, they've become more persuasive. we have the ever-sort of-- its greatest threat to america's stability comes from places like that. there's iran. and now there's an opportunity with all these new democracies, there's an opportunity for a
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different kind of discussion. the trouble is finding the language. they don't know how to talk with us any more than we know how to talk with them. and it's anything to be, for a while-- this is why losing ambassador stevens is such a huge blow because he was one of the people who actually was beginning to understand how to speak with the people in the street, which explanation his popularity, which explains why so many libyans today are mourning his death. >> schieffer: it is, david, isn't it, it's difficult for people in other parts of the world to understand this country. there probably weren't 100 people in america who saw this movie, or who had ever even heard of it. maybe they saw it on the internet after it happened. and yet in other countries it seems to come across whatever comes out of united states the government approved of it and the majority of the people approved of it where nothing could be further from the truth. >> when you grow up in a country where the government controls all, it's easy to project in the united states we run want same
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way, and of course we all know what a large disorganized free speech society we have. and that gets a little bit to what the american embassy in cairo was trying to do with the statement that became such a political football later on. the statement read to me as something-- when i was a foreign correspondent you would see it happen all the time. it was an effort to try to calm the streets before there was a protest. in fact, it came out before the first protest in cairo, and it basically said, "we believe in religious tolerance, and in free speech, and you shouldn't think that these statements were endorsed by the united states government." well, if no one had watched the video, bob, no one paid attention to that cairo statement, either, from the embassy. and you saw what took place. and what it tells you is these tinderboxes are going to keep happening, whether it's another video, whether it's another statement. and the irony for president obama is he's the one who came in with a speech in cairo in hs
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first year in office saying a new day had arrived and talking with sympathy about the muslim world that he had grown up around. >> schieffer: john, where is the presidential campaign right now? >> well, we've had two convention. i think where most people think it is, the average of the polls the president is up by about three points. but what's happened nonetheless indeed those polls is his attributes. on the question of the economy, there's some movement that he's fought romney to a draw. this is one area governor romney had the advantage. if you look inside the states, the president is ahead in ohio, florida, outside the margin of error. given the way the math looks, if he wins one of those two states, it's looking very, very good for the president. and we'll also have dwindling opportunities for mitt romney so mitt romney didn't get a big bounce from picking paul exprien he didn't get a big bounce from his convention. he's really only got the debates coming up. the good news for romney is independents until the poles, he's wins those by 10 points. and the elite opinion kind of
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feels like he's losing it right now. when you're on the other side of elite opinion that can sometimes be a good thing because the elites are so often wrong. >> schieffer: thank you all very much for adding your insights this morning. i'll be back in a moment with final thoughts about how foreign policy often intrudes on presidential elections when we least expect it.
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>> schieffer: finally today, our campaigns are usually about pocketbook issues but this is not the first time an unexpected event overseas has landed smack in the middle of a hot presidential race. in 1968, embattled democrats claimed they had a plan to end the war in vietnam. but after our south vietnamese allies mysteriously pulled. out of peace talks with north vietnam, just before the election. >> the political miracle-- >> schieffer: it dashed whatever hopes democrats had for a victory and republican richard nixon was elected.
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but most of the time, foreign efforts to influence our elections either backfire or have no impact. in 1980, 52 american diplomats were being held hostage in iran, but just before the election, the iranians seemed ready to make a deal to release them. what some saw as a ploy to re-elect jimmy carter. ronald reagan' reagan's running, george bush, said it wouldn't work. >> you see, i think the american people don't want these ayatollahs, to affect the election one way or another. >> schieffer: he was right, of course, and reagan won. terrorists crashed a truck into the u.s. embassy in beirut and killed 23 people during reagan's reelection campaign in 1984. americans were outraged and re-elected reagan. there was no question osama bin laden was trying to influence
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american voters in 2004 when he took credit for 9/11 and condemned george bush. >> americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country. i'm sure senator kerry agrees with this. >> schieffer: he was right on both counts, and was re-elected. americans may disagree on many things, but here's one thing on which we don't-- we don't like anyone telling us how to vote. they have teachers... ...with a deeper knowledge of their subjects. as a result, their students achieve at a higher level. let's develop more stars in education. let's invest in our teachers... ...so they can inspire our students.
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let's solve this.
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>> schieffer: and that's it for all of us here today. we thank you for being with you. we'll see you next week right here on "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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tv
Face the Nation
CBS September 16, 2012 10:30am-11:30am EDT

News/Business. News interviews with distinguished national and foreign figures. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Israel 15, Syria 10, Libya 10, Cairo 7, Iran 7, Martin Indyk 6, Tom Friedman 6, Egypt 5, Iraq 5, Bob 4, U.n. 3, Obama 3, Richard Haass 3, John Dickerson 3, Al Qaeda 3, Mccain 3, John Mccain 3, Washington 3, Islam 3, Afghanistan 3
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